Experimental Insights into the Coupling of Methane Combustion and Steam Reforming in a Catalytic Plate Reactor in Transient Mode

M. Arsalan Ashraf, Stefano Tacchino, Nageswara Rao Peela, Giuliana Ercolino, Kirandeep K. Gill, Dionisios G. Vlachos, Stefania Specchia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


The microstructured reactor concept is very promising technology to develop a compact reformer for distributed hydrogen generation. In this work, a catalytic plate reactor (CPR) is developed and investigated for the coupling of methane combustion (MC) and methane steam reforming (MSR) over Pt/Al2O3-coated microchannels in cocurrent and counter-current modes in transient experiments during start-up. A three-dimensional (3D) computational fluid dynamics (CFD) simulation shows uniform velocity and pressure distribution profiles in microchannels. For a channel velocity from 5.1 to 57.3 m/s in the combustor, the oxidation of methane is complete and self-sustainable without explosion, blow-off, or extinction; nevertheless, flashbacks are observed in counter-current mode. In the reformer, the maximum methane conversion is 84.9% in cocurrent mode, slightly higher than that of 80.2% in counter-current mode at a residence time of 33 ms, but at the cost of three times higher energy input in the combustor operating at ∼1000 °C. Nitric oxide (NO) is not identified in combustion products, but nitrous oxide (N2O) is a function of coupling mode and forms significantly in cocurrent mode. This research would be helpful to establish the start-up strategy and environmental impact of compact reformers on a small scale.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)196-209
Number of pages14
JournalIndustrial and Engineering Chemistry Research
Issue number1
Early online date31 Dec 2020
Publication statusPublished - 13 Jan 2021

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Chemistry(all)
  • Chemical Engineering(all)
  • Industrial and Manufacturing Engineering

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